Recently, I’ve been having a few discussions with business owners about the second point in my entrepreneurial hat trick. I’ve been meditating on freedom – that glorious, abstract stuff that goes with wealth and sanity like tom goes with dick and harry.
Turns out that the pursuit of freedom has been tripping up well meaning, ambitious entrepreneurs. Wealth and sanity have vanished in the face of the wannabe entrepreneur’s desire to live without rules or boundaries.
Yes, freedom might just destroy your business. Read on to find out why. Learn what can be done to ensure freedom never shatters you.
The freedom to do whatever you want
Every entrepreneur I meet confirms a the same beginning to their entrepreneurial journey. It happens when they realized they just cannot work for someone else. The moment of this specific realization is universal among entrepreneurs with just one exception – dynastic family business owners who are born into entrepreneurialism.
Of course, a business is seldom started just to avoid the nine to five grindstone. Ideas are tossed around, passions are discovered and models are tested… but that process of finding “the thing” kicks off the moment an entrepreneur decides to quit their job.
Entrepreneurial folks love not having regular jobs. When you’re the only boss, you have total control over your schedule, deadlines, time and location.
Want to work from a cafe? How about the beach? Do it!
Feel productive working from 10pm to 3am? Screw office hours – do it!
It sure is good being an entrepreneur.
Once you start shooting for the business owner’s hat trick, freedom becomes almost instantly attainable.
Instant freedom – the double edged sword of the self employed
When you quit your job, you instantly win freedom. The moment you leave your boss’s office, your time is all yours. It feels great!
The problem is the moment you quit the job, it’s time to start pursuing your dream. It’s time to start rocketing toward the hat trick, while changing the world for the better!
Except you just won freedom. Best enjoy it for a little bit, right?
Why not take a few days to chill out at home and “brainstorm”? After all, you just finished working pretty hard so you probably deserve a break. Besides, you’ve got a few errands to run and Oprah’s on later.
Do you see what’s going on here?
The immediate gratification of “instant freedom” makes entrepreneurs complacent. They feel like they’re already a third of the way towards scoring the hat trick, even though they haven’t even started their company.
As time goes by, the entrepreneur starts to become more and more aware of the lack of wealth. The bills are piling up – most likely due to all that enjoyed freedom. Soon, even “sanity” looks marginal, as the stress of surviving as an utterly free entrepreneur takes it’s toll.
Freedom can cost an entrepreneur any shot at wealth and sanity.
Freedom can destroy a creative entrepreneurs ability to perform as they refuse to commit to deadlines and daily output. “Why do that when it feels so much like a job?!” they cry, in vain.
Freedom shatters the service-based business owner when they miss out on helping clients in a timely manner – it happens (all the time) because the entrepreneur is off “being free” instead of working.
Freedom cripples all businesses when it entices entrepreneurs to avoid planning, structure and discipline.
In your effort to enjoy instant freedom, you rob your business of the ingredients it needs to create real freedom and wealth.
It’s time to redefine “Freedom”
If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s time to have a practical look at the way you define the concept of Freedom.
Is the freedom you pursue easily accessible and under-rewarding? Does it feel cheap and fast, like a McDonald’s meal that leaves you with McRegret?
Is your freedom earned through smarts and sweat? Is it nourishing? Does it take you places in style, like a private jet with an in-flight pastry chef?
One of these two Freedoms is built on a foundation of structure, discipline and hard work. The other is built on nothing and comes at an enormous price.
One freedom erodes wealth and the other creates it by necessity. One reinforces sanity while the other erodes it.
What kind of freedom are you pursuing?
Most wannabe entrepreneurs are selling their chance at a hat trick short, by opting for the easy gratification. They fear the commitment required to earn the real, fulfilling freedom – the stuff with foundation.
Instead, they cling to a dream of “lifestyle” and four hour work weeks. They even tell their friends and family that their mediocre performance is justified by all the glorious freedom they enjoy.
Then, when alone, such entrepreneurs swallow guilty bile as they contemplate a difficult future while regretting a wasted past.
Here’s my advice: Define the freedom you really want. Then pursue it voraciously, without stopping to enjoy cheap substitutes until you win the real stuff.
That is all.